MONROVIA: The first large-scale trials of two Ebola vaccines were due to begin in Liberia on Monday, the partnership conducting the research said.
The vaccines contain harmless fragments of the virus that trigger an immune response, according to the Partnership for Research on Ebola Vaccines in Liberia (PREVAIL), a collaboration between the United States and Liberia.
“The study will begin at Redemption Hospital in Monrovia. Subsequent sites will be added at other hospitals in and near Monrovia after the first 600 participants join the study,” it said in a statement.
Researchers, led by the US National Institutes of Health, aim to enlist around 27,000 healthy men and women aged 18 and over, PREVAIL said.
The candidate vaccines — GlaxoSmithKline’s Chad3-EBO-Z and rVSV-ZEBOV, manufactured by Merck and Newlink — have been determined as safe for use on humans in smaller trials in several countries.
PREVAIL said the vaccines could cause pain, redness or swelling in the injected arm, as well as fever, headaches and tiredness, but added that the side-effects “typically have been mild to moderate and have gone away on their own”.
The study was launched at the Redemption Hospital on Sunday at an event attended by Liberian Vice-President Joseph Boaikai.
“We hope that this scientific undertaking we launch here today will get answers for the mystery surrounding this disease,” he said.